Holiday Tournament Reports

January 3, 2011

Brief thoughts from across the Pekin, Pontiac, and State Farm Holiday tournaments.

First, let’s start with the most outstanding player, Jabari Parker from Simeon. Parker plays well beyond his years. He is a high I.Q. player who is very good at creating his own shot.  He is hard to defend because he can create his shot both facing the basket as well as with his back to the basket.

A couple of players to keep an eye are Darell Combes from Thornwood and Denzel McCauley from Rock Island.  Combes is a 6′1″ combo guard who is good at scoring off the dribble by either taking it all the way to the basket or pulling up and hitting the fifteen footer. McCauley is 6′8″; a big body who has his best years ahead of him. He still has a little rawness to him but runs the floor well and has decent face up skills. Once he reaches his potential, he will be a solid mid-major player.

The most underrated players were Armani Flannigan from Rockford Boylan and Max Bielfeldt from Peoria Notre Dame. Flannigan is 6′7″ senior athletic forward with great body control around the rim.  If a college can convert him to a wing forward, he is a legitimate mid-major player. Bielfeldt is a 6′8″ power forward.  How many times does Bielfeldt need to put up big numbers against good competition to get more mid-major offers? Many believe he is not athletic or explosive enough to play at a high major school, but he has good footwork and finishes well around the basket.

Other players yet to play to their full potential are Anthony Beane, Aaron Simpson, and Steve Taylor.  Beane of Normal Community is an athletic guard who has to become more patient at times and let the game come to him.  Shot selection and consistency will be key to his success as he continues to get even better.  Simpson of North Chicago has the tools to be a high major player. He has good quickness and can beat his defender with either hand but is still streaky on his outside shot. Taylor of Simeon is a 6′7″ smooth versitile forward/center.  He has a nice feel around the basket and has range out to the three point line. I have a feeling he will raise his stock quite a bit and be in the top 75 nationally by his senior year.

The most athletic player was Karrington Ward from Lockport.  Ward is a 6′5″ long forward who can jump out the gym.  He is also a track & field standout for his school and can clear 6′10″ in the high jump.

The best shooter of all the tournaments was Jack Krieger of Plainfield North.  He scored 30 points and was 5/8 from three point range in the pontiac semifinal game.

Finally, the most cerebral player was Chasson Randle from Rock Island. In the past three years I’ve watched Randle, I have very rarily seen him take a bad shot. He’s a very good shooter and finishes well around the basket.Even as talented as he is, he doesn’t force shots. Expect to see him have a great career at Stanford.


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